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Fire department says Watkins blaze was an 'accident'

WATKINS GLEN—A fire in Watkins Glen gutted 313 N. Franklin St., Sunday, Oct. 18.
In a report released by the Watkins Glen fire department, Monday, Oct. 19, the fire was called an accident. The report says “it appears the fire was started by the thawing/defrosting of a refrigerator.”
Bill Haeffner, Watkins Glen firefighter, said the fire was fully going by 7 p.m., starting at about 6 p.m. By 8 p.m., the fire was under control, but the damage was done. The brunt of the destruction was at the Village Variety and Yesterday’s Paradise stores and apartments. From the street, the burnt insides of the second floor were visible.
Jamie Greenan, Schuyler Ambulance responder, said as far as he knew, only one person went to the hospital, but was not driven by ambulance. The fire closed off Franklin Street from Second to Fifth Streets, and one block west and south on Fourth Street. Among the responders were fire departments from Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, Odessa, Burdett, Hector, Horseheads, Monterey, Branchport, Big Flats, Dundee, Wayne and Hammondsport. Salvation Army: Disaster Services was also present.
The next morning the Village Variety shop was boarded up, and Yesterday’s Paradise similiarly closed. The realty office of Ambrose and Shoemaker was also closed, but was not ravaged by the fire. The Leslie School of Dance, in the Ambrose and Shoemaker building, is also closed until further notice.

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